Evidence Database Protocol

Evidence Database | Advanced Evidence Search | Evidence Summaries

What is evidence?

Evidence refers to information that is systematically obtained and analyzed to determine whether, how, and why a given intervention works. Evidence-based services involve a “process in which the practitioner combines well-researched interventions with clinical experience and ethics, and client preferences and culture to guide and inform the delivery of treatments and services” (Social Work Policy Institute, 2010).

Why an evidence database for refugee service providers?
One of Switchboard’s project objectives is to improve the capacity of resettlement service providers to provide evidence-based services. In October 2019, Switchboard conducted its second annual training needs assessment among refugee service providers in the U.S. Only 28% of survey respondents indicated that they had the knowledge and skills to provide evidence-based services. These findings, and the lack of an existing database focused solely on research related to outcomes, interventions and populations served by resettlement service providers, contributed to the development of Switchboard’s evidence database. This database aims to make the best-available research evidence accessible to resettlement service providers in the U.S. Gaps in evidence may be used to inform future research.

Inclusion Criteria

Study Types
While there are many types of evidence, all of which may have value for the design and delivery of services to ORR-eligible populations, the Switchboard Evidence Database currently focuses on only the most rigorous. The database includes:

  • meta-analyses (systematic analyses of sets of existing evaluations of similar programs);
  • systematic reviews (syntheses of the best available evidence on specific research questions) that use meta-analysis or narrative synthesis focused on evaluations of the impacts of at least one specific policy, program, or intervention;
  • published individual impact evaluations using randomized controlled trials (RCTs/C-RCTs), natural experiments, quasi-experimental techniques such as difference-in-difference (DID), instrumental variables (IV), regression discontinuity (RDD), propensity score matching (PSM) or other forms of synthetic matching, as well as fixed effects techniques with interaction terms;
  • published literature reviews; and
  • suggestive evidence from published studies using methods including uncontrolled before and after tests, post-test only, interrupted time series (ITS), cross-sectional regressions, longitudinal panels, cohort and case-controls, as well as purely qualitative techniques.

Case studies, unpublished suggestive research, opinion papers, descriptive studies, and unpublished literature reviews are not included.

Studies included in the database will focus primarily on high-income or upper middle-income countries, including but not limited to the United States. Studies included must have been published in or after the year 2000. For inclusion in the database, study populations must include one or more of the following populations: Refugees, Asylees, Special Immigrant Visa Holders (SIVs), Cuban-Haitian entrants, Victims of Trafficking, and Amerasians.

Outcome Areas & Interventions
Priority outcomes for FY20 and FY21 were identified through Switchboard’s needs assessment and consultation with ORR. Additional emergency preparedness outcomes were included in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These outcome areas are the subject of evidence mapping that began in June 2020 and is ongoing. Going forward, additional priority outcomes will be identified and summaries developed.

Outcome Areas Interventions
Mental Health mental health and psychosocial support services
cultural competency training for mental health providers
peer support groups
trauma-informed approaches
strengths-based approaches
Safety disaster and emergency preparedness services

women’s employment interventions
self-sufficiency interventions
Organizational Capacity

organizational strategies
self-care strategies
Digital Inclusion

programs for low-skilled and low-literate people
school-home partnerships
public libraries & migrant community centers
community technology centers
Detailed Search Protocols

Detailed search protocols for each identified intervention are available in the relevant evidence summary. These detailed search protocols include: websites and databases searched, population terms, methodology terms, and intervention terms.


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